Recurvirostra avosetta – CAMBIG – Rare visitor
The breeding range of the Avocet is from Africa to the south west of Asia and Europe north to Holland, with an increasing population in eastern England.
The Avocet was first put on record for Pembrokeshire by Mathew (1894), who noted one taken near Tenby about 1883 and mentioned two specimens from near Pembroke but gave no further information. A total of 28 birds have been recorded in the county since then, with occurrences in four springs, three autumns and 10 winters.
Spring records were: four at the Nevern Estuary from the 10th to the 12th May 1993, one there on the 10th and 11th May 1996, singles at the Gann on the 26 April 1999 and the 4th to the 14th May 2004.
Autumn records were: two at the Nevern Estuary on the 17th to the 19th September 1976, singles at Picton Point on the 21st September 1999 and Nevern Estuary on the 13th October 2005.
Winter records were: two near Pembroke in the winter of 1900, Three “off Milford Haven in winter” 1927, one Carew on the 1st to the 3rd February 1923, two Little Milford on the 29th January 1954 and four there on the 29th January 1955, one Hook Reach from the 10th November to the 15th December 1974, one Angle Bay on the 15th November 1992, another there on the 15th January 2000, one at the Nevern Estuary on the 22nd December 2000 and one at Little Milford from the 12th January to the 4th March 2002.
The record so far suggests that the tidal Western Cleddau has been the only place that Avocets have favoured for any length of time. It seems worth noting that in this context, the dates published for Little Milford in 1954 and 1955 were arrival dates, contemporary verbal communication was that the birds concerned were in that area through the winter.
Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007